Trial: AI-powered robots in Australian aged care

A resident in discussion with AI-powered robot 'Abi'.

Andromeda Robotics, an Australian-based robotics and AI startup is breaking new ground in the aged care industry with its innovative AI-powered companion robot named Abi.

The company has recently announced the commencement of initial trials in collaboration with Bolton Clarke’s Allity residential aged care. Abi represents a prototype humanoid companion robot designed to interact with elderly residents in a relaxed and conversational manner.

What sets Abi apart is its use of the Chat GPT-4 artificial intelligence platform, allowing it to recognise residents, answer their questions, and customise conversations based on previous interactions. This level of personalisation creates a unique and meaningful experience for the residents, making them feel more engaged and less isolated.

Ms Thena Johnstone, National Pathways Manager at Allity, said the robot has proven to be an immediate success with residents who enjoy interacting with it through voice.

“We have been fortunate enough to be involved with the prototype robot, named Abi, from the very early stages and have watched it grow in both capability and physical stature,” she said.

Andromeda founder Ms Grace Brown said the initial trial at Allity was a significant step in the ongoing evolution of Abi and would provide invaluable data for the company’s development team.

“Abi uses a mix of machine vision, artificial intelligence and Chat GPT to power its interactions with residents,” she said.

“The robot also relies on non-verbal cues and we have worked with advisors from animation studios Pixar and DreamWorks to make Abi’s body language as empathetic and engaging as possible”, Ms Brown added

While companion robots are not a new concept, Abi represents a significant advancement in the field due to its improved interaction and communication skills.

“Recent advances in technology are helping Abi to take conversational AI to the next level. This is not just when it comes to communicating with people but also making an emotional connection which is so important.”

Andromeda founder Grace Brown

Andromeda Robotics has received support from programs like the Boab AI Scaleup Program and investments from venture investors, including a $1 million investment led by seed venture capital firm Galileo Ventures. These resources will enable the company to continue its development program with the goal of bringing a fully functional companion robot like Abi to the market within the next 18 months.


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